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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



JAMES H. McGREGOR, President of the Arctic Ice Company of Bloomington, Ill., whose portrait is shown on page 504, ranks among the enterprising business men of the city, and as one who has contributed his full share toward the advancement of its business and industrial interests. Mr. McGregor was born in Washington County, N. Y., on the 16th of March, 1830. His father, Peter McGregor, was a native of Scotland, who came to America in 1828. All his children except James H. were born there. The father was a farmer by occupation, and located with his family near the city of Montreal, Canada. The mother of our subject, before her marriage, was Miss Mary Stuart, and the family of herself and husband consisted of seven children, five sons and two daughters.

In August, 1853, the subject of this history left the parental roof and coming into the States located in Bloomington, Ill., and engaged at the bricklayer's trade, which he had previously learned. This he followed for many years, and is still engaged as a contractor and builder. In this capacity he has superintended the erection of some of the most important buildings of this locality and in the city of Chicago. In 1863 he associated himself in partnership with N. B. Heafer, of this city, with whom he operated for a period of twenty years. During this time the firm was interested in some of the best improvements in this city, having built the C. & A. R. R. shops, and afterward the McLean County court-house, which latter was erected at a cost of over $300,000. They also built the First Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the finest church edifices in the city, and afterward laid the street pavements and built the water-works, together with the tower, which is 200 feet in height. At the same time they were engaged in the manufacture and laying of brick, also street pavements. The partnership was dissolved in 1883, by mutual consent, the two gentlemen still retaining a lifelong esteem for each other. Mr. McGregor has been since that time carrying on the same business alone and was elected to his present position as President of the Arctic Ice Company in 1884.

Our subject was married in 1866, to Miss Mary A. Barnes, a native of Ohio, and they have two children Mary and Edith. Mr. McG. is a member in good standing of the I. O. O. F. , Remembrance Lodge No. 77. The family occupy a handsome and attractive home and enjoy the society and esteem of a large circle of friends.

Duncan McGregor, deceased, a brother of our subject, was one of the most active railroad men of the West. He was born in Scotland, and after the death of his father in Canada, he and his brother, James H. went to Kalamazoo, Mich., where Duncan had charge of a force of men employed in the construction of the Michigan Central Railroad, their part of the line stretching from Michigan City, Ind., to Chicago, and employing them during the summer of 1852. Duncan McGregor next went to LaSalle, Ill., where he superintended the laying of the track of the Illinois Central Railroad to Bloomington, it being the first road to enter the latter city. He then made his home at Bloomington for several years, holding the position of conductor on the I. C. R. R. In 1858 he went to Texas to take charge of the track laying of the Texas Central which ran to Huston.

During the Rebellion Duncan McGregor assisted in building the Brazos River Railroad. While in that section of country he was pressed into the service of the Confederates in constructing and repairing railroads, and also ran a locomotive for them over different roads until the engine was so worn and the boiler so leaky that he was compelled to abandon it. At this the Confederates became enraged and were going to hang him, but by determined effort he made his escape toward the Gulf, where he was picked up by a Northern vessel and reached a place of safety. He then came North to Logansport, Ind., where he was employed as an engineer and conductor on the C. C. & I. C. R. R. for several years. On the night of his death he had taken the place of another engineer to run out an extra. When nearing the city of Columbus, Ohio, an obstruction upon the track threw the locomotive from the rails, and in the wreck he was instantly killed. This terrible accident occurred in 1874. Duncan McGregor was classed among the best railroad men of the West.

Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 505. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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